Young Star

Guided by voices

Mariah Reodica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Somewhere in the heart of urban Manila is a man who camps outside an office in his car, waiting for a rush job where he’ll be ask to narrate a show or commercial. For other voice talents, their workday isn’t as extreme, but it still takes a lot to be part of a quite niche business that is literally invisible. The voices you hear in movie trailers or on TV are meant to make an impact and catch your attention instantly, but do we ever think of much thought to whom the voice is coming from, or what they look like?

Don’t underestimate the power of a good voiceover: It’s a make-or-break thing. Boxing matches wouldn’t be the same without a booming voice announcing the round numbers. A smooth, sultry feminine voice could convince you to buy your date chocolates, but that same voice probably wouldn’t be best for selling tickets to a wrestling match.

Voice acting is not as easy as talking. Consistently projecting a distinct voice is a lot like performing in a sporting event, or singing. Once voice talents are given a script, it’s up to them and the client to decide on what voice is needed. That’s where the “acting” part of voice acting comes in. A certain persona needs to come across from the get-go, and when it comes to commercials, that voice has to establish itself in 30 seconds.

In the belly of the ABS-CBN complex, a radio studio buzzes with activity. Bobzilla, the current DJ on-air is taking a break, texting on his phone and eating quesadillas. Aside from his main persona as DJ Bobzilla, he also does voiceovers for TV shows, movie trailers, and commercials.

Bobzilla goes by the nickname “Tiny” in real life, but is actually tall and bearded. Tattoos cover his arms. You wouldn’t think so if you hear him over the radio — especially when he demonstrates the ways he can change how he speaks to suit whatever is needed. His normal speaking voice is low and robust, but for romantic comedy trailers, he speaks sweetly and smoothly. When he does voiceovers for Aquino and Abunda Tonight, he changes his voice depending on who he’s introducing, whether it’s Bimby or other celebrities. He laughs about his strange experience doing voiceovers for beauty products, considering his low voice, but he says that he’s found a way to make it work.

His demonstration is interrupted by a colleague who asks him to DJ for a three-hour slot from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., and he agrees to it without batting an eyelash. It’s hectic, to say the least, but he finds the variety and spontaneity exciting.

Sounding effortless isn’t as easy as it seems. Talking comes naturally to most people, but voice acting, and all it entails is a heralding but unheralded craft. Most people can’t even bear the sound of their own voices on recordings, but for a small group of people in the media industry, it’s their voices that bring home the bacon.











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